The Corner

Politics & Policy

Making America Grate Again

If you knew nothing about Barack Obama’s presidency and how he has conducted it, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a reasonable, albeit liberal, and even uplifting State of the Union Address. But after seven years of unrelenting presidential condescension, insults and cynicism, it’s very difficult to take his sermons against cynicism and incivility seriously. Cut through the rhetoric and the message was the same as ever: If you agree with me, you’re reasonable.  It was all so tediously familiar and grating I couldn’t wait for it to end (much like Obama’s presidency).

I lost track of the straw-men and false-choices. I particularly enjoyed his “big question” of how to keep America secure “without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there’s a problem.” Ah, yes, those are the only choices other than Barack Obama’s enlightened third way  — a third way so enlightened he actually touted Syria policy as a success. I’m sure the quarter million dead Syrians and the Europeans awash in refugees agree that the Obama Way is so much more enlightened.

Probably the most interesting thing about the speech tonight was how it differed from his prepared remarks and what those differences said. Several times I heard him say things that sounded politically ill-advised and so I checked the prepared remarks thinking that maybe I misheard. But I didn’t.

For instance, in his prepared text, Obama says  “Immigrants aren’t the reason wages haven’t gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.” 

But in his actual remarks, Obama said that immigrants aren’t “the principal reason” wages haven’t gone up. Well, okay. So is he saying that they’re one of the reasons? I hope someone follows up with him on that.

He also called Ukraine a “client state” being propped up by Russia. Huh? That’s certainly not in his prepared remarks either.

Ultimately it was a forgettable State of the Union Address – as most are. But there is one way it will be extremely memorable. President Obama not only celebrated his ridiculous and dangerous Iran deal in his remarks, but he totally ignored the fact that Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors today. The administration is telling reporters it’s not big deal and they will all be released in the morning, Iran time.

Well, if that’s true, the incident will likely be quickly forgotten. But, if it turns out that this becomes anything like a hostage situation, Obama’s final State of the Union will may be remembered as symbolic of his denial and delusions. It could make his claim, right before the Paris attacks, that ISIS is “contained” seem like a minor gaffe.

My hopeful expectation is that won’t happen, and we will get our sailors back ASAP. But even if that does happen, I have every expectation that Iran will commit some other deed that will make Obama’s confidence seem ridiculous. Because on the Iran deal, and so many other things, his confidence is ridiculous.



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